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    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Appetite. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Appetite, 164, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105279

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    Embargo ends: 27/04/22

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The role of meat appetite in willfully disregarding factory farming as a pandemic catalyst risk

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Article number105279
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Appetite
Volume164
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date27/04/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Most infectious diseases are zoonotic, “jumping” from animals to humans, with COVID-19 no exception. Although many zoonotic transmissions occur on industrial-scale factory farms, public discussions mainly blame wild animal (“wet”) markets or focus on reactionary solutions, posing a psychological obstacle to preventing future pandemics. In two pre-registered studies early in the 2020 pandemic, we examined whether British adults fail to recognize factory farming in causing epidemics, and whether such dismissal represents motivated cognition. Cross-sectional data (Study 1, N = 302) confirmed that people blame factory farms and global meat consumption less than wild animal trade and consumption or lack of government preparedness, especially among meat-committed persons. Experimental exposure (Study 2, N = 194) to information blaming factory farms (vs. wild animal markets) produced lower endorsement of preventive solutions than of reactionary solutions, which was exacerbated among meat-committed persons. These findings suggest that people, especially those highly committed to eating meat, willfully disregard solutions targeting animal agriculture and global meat consumption to prevent future pandemics precisely because such solutions implicate their dietary habits. Better understanding motivated beliefs about the causes of and solutions to pandemics is critical for developing interventions.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Appetite. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Appetite, 164, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105279